It may look like a cross between a prison camp and an amusement park - but for more than 40 years the Chuk Yuen Children's Reception Centre has been offering help to the most vulnerable members of society. However, the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau yesterday announced that the centre in Wong Tai Sin, a refuge for abused and in-danger children aged eight and under, will close because it is no longer cost-effective. 'As the occupancy rates have been less than satisfactory, the department considered that its services should be hived off to the non-governmental sector after a critical review of the cost-effectiveness of the centre,' a spokesman for the bureau said. The Po Leung Kuk charity will take over Chuk Yuen's role. Over the years the four-storey yellow building has been home to thousands of children, usually 50 or so at a time. Behind the centre's high barbed-wire fence, decorated with paintings of cartoon and storybook characters, lived children needing a chance at a better life - some abandoned, some needing to be kept away from suicidal or drug-addicted parents. What the children were offered was a gateway to a better life. Its most famous resident was probably five-year-old Kwok Ah-nui, in 1986. Ah-nui was forcibly separated from her mother after neighbours complained to the Social Welfare Department that the girl was left home alone and chained to the door every day. Department officers forced their way into the house and rescued Ah-nui. The incident threw then-director of social welfare Anson Chan Fang On-san into the centre of a controversy, with accusations of 'officially sanctioned kidnap', forcing the department to seek a court order to enter flats. Ah-nui was kept at Chuk Yuen until she was adopted. Through the years she has kept in touch with Mrs Chan, who later became chief secretary. Ah-nui's case also prompted a media campaign against leaving children home alone, with haunting advertisements of a child peeping through the mail slot of a front door. Other abandoned children have passed through Chuk Yuen's doors, with many returning as adults to visit. But not all the stories have happy endings. In 2002, the mother of an abode-seeker left her seven-year-old daughter in Shamshuipo in an attempt to prevent her being deported. The child also was taken to Chuk Yuen, but eventually deported. The year before, a 10-year-old boy who found no one waiting for him in Hong Kong after travelling alone from Vancouver was placed in Chuk Yuen. The case prompted calls for a foster care system to replace the reception centre. An order will be made by the government to give legislative effect to the removal of Chuk Yuen from the list of designated places of refuge under the Protection of Children and Juveniles Ordinance. The order will be tabled to the Legislative Council next Wednesday.